18 Acres on High-Tor Ridge (NY) Protected

Clarkstown, NY, 2/21/2002 — The Trust for Public Land announced today the protection of approximately 18 acres on High-Tor Ridge in the Town of Clarkstown. The $600,000 acquisition is the first to use funds from the town’s $22 million open space bond referendum.

The new town park, located off of High-Tor Road, is intended for passive recreation such as hiking. The property is a mix of forest and open areas, providing habitat for timber rattlesnakes, a threatened species in New York State. The existing network of trails complements nearby South Mountain County Park and High-Tor State Park. Acquisition of this property further protects the slopes of High-Tor Ridge, an extension of the Hudson River Palisades escarpments. The property has been a high priority for acquisition for the town for several years.

“This project preserves a key piece of open space for a community that faces enormous development pressure,” said Philip Nicholas, field representative for the Trust for Public Land. “The Town of Clarkstown has seen a lot of growth and, with its proximity to New York City, this land would certainly have been developed if it had not been acquired.”

“We are pleased that this property is now protected, fulfilling the town’s goal to protect scenic views, which was put forward in our master plan. We are grateful to the Trust for Public Land, which tied this effort together,” said Charles E. Holbrook, supervisor of the Town of Clarkstown.

The Clarkstown bond referendum was passed by voters in 2000 to provide funds for the protection of critical open space resources in the town. To support the town’s efforts, the Trust for Public Land provided advice and assistance to the local volunteer committee that campaigned for the measure. TPL’s Conservation Finance Program has helped states, counties and municipalities secure more than $26 billion in new funding for parks and land conservation since 1994 and is currently in the middle of a five-year effort to help communities generate $20 billion in conservation funding. In 2001, voters nationwide passed 137 ballot measures, approving approximately $1.7 billion in funding for parks and open space. Since 1998, voters have given their support to more than $19 billion in open space funding, passing 529 referenda.

The Trust for Public Land, founded in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiation, conservation finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. To date, TPL has helped protect more than 1.3 million acres, including more than 56,700 acres in New York State. The organization’s efforts in New York are done in coordination with a joint-venture partner, the Open Space Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting land in New York State, and supporting the efforts of citizen activists working to protect environmental quality in their communities.